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Interview with Amanita Design

The CMP Game Group (producer of Game Developer magazine, Gamasutra.com, and the Game Developers Conference) established the Independent Games Festival in 1998 to encourage innovation in game development and to recognize the best independent game developers. They saw how the Sundance Film Festival benefited the independent film community, and wanted to create a similar event for independent game developers as well as the student population of game developers.

Jakub Dvorský, founder of Amanita Design, took some time from his busy schedule to answer a few email questions about his game, Samorost2, which has been nominated for Best Web Browser Game and Excellence in Visual Art

Who are you and how were you involved in Samorost2?

Jakub: I'm 28, I live in Brno (Czech Republic), studied animated film in Prague on Academy of Arts, Design and Architecture. In 2003 I established Amanita Design and work as a freelancer. Samorost2 is a sequel to Samorost1 which I created alone except the sounds (Tomas Dvorak), for Samorost2 development I also invited new Amanita Design member Vaclav Blin, who created almost all the animations and Tomas Dvorak who composed original soundtrack for the game. I did script, design, backgrounds, some animations and programming.

Congrats on your nominations. What made you submit Samorost2 to the IGF?

Jakub: I found the IGF website one day and just submitted our game.

Where did the idea for Samorost2 come from?

Jakub: From my head:) I was inspired mainly by nature, but also by many games, books and movies.

Where there any difficulties involved with designing the game around finding the next place to click?

Jakub: It's not easy to design what to do in each screen, there are always some difficulties and every "puzzle" requires lots testing.

What inspired the visual style of the game?

Jakub: As I mentioned above it was nature - especially old rotten stumps, roots, mushrooms, polypores etc.

What do you feel are some of the advantages and disadvantages to developing in Flash?

Jakub: Flash is great tool for vector animation and it's quite easy to complete the whole game in it even for non-technically oriented people. The disadvantage is sometimes poor performance when there are many animations on one screen.

Is there anything that happened during development you would like to reveal to other developers as a caution?

Jakub: It's interesting that you are always behind the schedule during the development. We also had some problems with server bandwidth after publishing the game on the web so next time we'll be better prepared.

What was used to make Samorost2 and what tools aided in development?

Jakub: Pencil and paper, PC, Wacom tablet, Canon 350D, Sigma 50mm macro, Nikon Coolpix 4500, Photoshop, Flash, some audio software, mics and some live instruments.

Is there anything else about Samorost2 you would like to reveal to other developers?

Jakub: Just try to come up with something innovative and original - it's the only chance for indie developers.

How do you view the indie scene over in the Czech Republic?

Jakub: We are very small country so the scene is also small, but there are many people involved in the games industry. I think the conditions for indie developers are perfect here so I expect the scene will grow within the next few years.

What's next for Amanita Design?

Jakub: We have some projects in the pipeline, but all is secret still :)

Good luck to the Amanita team at GDC!

Interview conducted by Drew Sikora

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